Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm still here...

And as soon as I finish packing and get myself out of this suitcase I will be back to blogging. :0)
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prayers for Chrissie

**Update. Chrissy's surgery was postponed because she woke up with a fever and a cough. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.
Monday (the 22nd) this little sweetie will be having open-heart surgery. Please pray for her and her precious family.
http://www.allarepreciousinhissight.blogspot.com/

Chrissie, your life has touched so many already. We are praying for you sweet angel!
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One like Mary

It doesn't matter who we are or where we are from, each one of us is born with something inside of us that longs to be loved and belong.

Each one of us has this desire to be 'chosen', to be cherished, and to be something special in the eyes of someone else.

Often times, we spend our entire life trying to prove to the world- prove to somebody, that we are worthy, that we are special, that we are beautiful- that we count.

But what would happen if we never found our place?

What would happen if time and time again we were told that we weren't special enough, we were not beautiful enough, and we were never 'chosen'.

My fear is... we would begin to believe those lies.

And that is my fear for Mary...



Mary is a precious 12 year old little girl living in an orphanage in Ghana. AAI has been searching for a family for Mary for quite some time. As a matter of fact, she is the longest waiting resident in AAI's facility.

And I cannot image being the one who is always left behind...

The one who is never chosen...

The one who's heart is broken over and over.

The one who never hears the words "We choose you".



The one who waits and waits



and waits some more.

Day after day, year after year.



But no one ever comes.



Can you imagine?




There is a family who has a special heart for orphans. They heard about Mary decided enough was enough.



This sweet family decided to do something.



They created a business that would raise money to help orphans like Mary find their way into a forever family. The business http://www.fromdiaperstodorms.com/ donates 5 % of each purchase into a fund for Mary which will help relieve some of the financial burden of adoption for a family who would like to adopt a child like Mary but cannot due to the cost.



I absolutely LOVE seeing a family IN ACTION. A family who truly cares. A family who says I cannot do it all, but I can do something. A family who is willing to help Mary finally have her turn. Please check them out, cheer them on and give Mary your support. It's her turn- and together we can help her finally have it.



If you'd like to learn more about Mary and the family who is helping her you can visit http://fromdiaperstodormsblog.blogspot.com


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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Have you ever felt like you couldn't get enough of something? Like no matter how much you tried - it was just never enough?

That is how I feel about Jesus.

More than anything in this world-I desire to get to know him more.

More of Him and less of me.

Except for the problem is the "ME" keeps getting in the way of experiencing more of Him.

The "Me" that lives in this world- often finds myself following 'it' instead of Him.

For quite some time now I have had this burning desire to go to Africa- and somehow I know that this desire to go there and the desire to get to know more of Jesus somehow fit together.

It is something that I cannot even explain.

I don't know what it is about Africa- I mean, I have never even been there and to be honestly, I don't even know THAT much about Africa. But none the less, that is how I feel- and it's a feeling that will not go away.

Africa seems like such a different world. A world where perhaps it won't be so easy to be caught up in our face paced society that seems to be dying to have more, do more, be more- at any cost.

A place where perhaps- I will be able to get to experience Jesus in a different way.

But whatever the reason-God has been calling me there, and I know there is a missing part of me that is there- and waiting.

And I cannot wait to go.

I cannot wait to meet the part of Africa that the Lord has placed on my heart so deeply.

So in a few short weeks, me, my daughter Addisyn, and my good friend from church, (Hi Michelle!!) are going to be getting on a plane and heading to Africa. We are planning on visiting a few different orphanages and also meeting up with some missionaries in Ziway who we were introduced to through Lifesong for orphans. (We adore Lifesong for orphans!!)

I have no question that this trip will be life changing in so many ways... because I know without a doubt I will be bringing home a very special part of Africa with me. A part of something God has planned just for me. A part of something that I needed to be complete.

Isn't it funny how you can miss a place where you have yet to be?

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First came love...


then came marriage....


then came baby in a baby carriage.


Ah, if it were always that easy.


But the truth is- for many of us, it isn't.


For most of us- it's work.


Continuous
work.


I talk a lot on here about adoption and my beautiful children, but I probably don't always give the credit and attention to the man behind the scenes...


My precious husband, who is my best friend, and who I adore with my entire heart...


and yet still marriage is work.


My amazing husband who one minute can walk into the room and take my breath away...


and in the next minute could walk into the room and annoy me just for breathing my air.


Because, yep, marriage is work.


This March Todd and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary. Looking back over the years I am blown away by how much we have grown and changed through the trials and the triumphs we have faced, and how far we have come- in our relationship with each other and in Christ. Yet that didn't come easy and that didn't come without a fight.


In this fast paced world of multi taskers, it is crucial that our marriages take top priority- right after our relationship with God. Once we are married I know it is easy to put everything else before our spouse because we tend to take those who are 'there for us' and 'love us the most' for granted- as we are busy working to achieve our goals and dreams.


And that my friends is exactly what Satan wants.


He loves it when we are so busy chasing our dreams that we take our eyes off the focus of working on our marriage. I cannot think of a better way for Satan to destroy an entire family in one clean sweep- than through a divorce. Trust me, I know, I have learned this the hard way.


Last Sunday Todd and I finished taking a Fireproof Your Marriage class through our church- that was held at our local fire department no less. We both truly enjoyed that 'work' we put into each other and our marriage. Not because our marriage was in trouble- but because we wanted to protect what we have. Over the past year we have spent time each night working our way through books on Love Languages and devotionals for couples (pictured above). I am in awe of how just spending that little time together, praying together as a couple, communicating, and working together as a team has strengthened our marriage. It has been such a gift.


I am often asked 'how I do it' with having eight children. My answer is I do it in God strength and with the love and support of my husband. We are a team- and I cannot think of a better gift we can give our children. Life is hard. Marriage is Hard. But by choosing to put God and then our marriage at the top of our priority list- everything else just seems to fall into place.


Today, if you are not already- I want to challenge you to take the initiative to love your spouse the way God loves you. Don't put conditions on your love. Don't wait for them to show you love first. We don't get love by complaining or making demands. We don't experience love by trying to make someone into something they are not. Love is a choice, period. None of us are perfect, all of us are going to make mistakes. Exercise forgiveness, exercise grace. Get rid of anything that is in your way of making your marriage a top priority- even those things that appear to be 'good things'. When you do, I promise that you will be blessed.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7

To my sweet husband, I know I don't say it enough, but I am so thankful for you. Thank you for loving me even when I don't deserve it. Thank you for forgiving me when I make mistakes and thank you for believing in my dreams- even when the rest of the world says they are crazy. Thank you for sharing my passions and for being such an incredible example to our children. I adore you and I love you with all that I am.


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Sunday, February 14, 2010

We love...

Because He first loved us. 1 John 4:9

Happy Valentines Day!!!
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Monday, February 8, 2010

I have a dream...


I have a dream that one day my teenage son will pick up his dirty socks off the floor without being asked 300 times...



I have a dream that one day my teenage daughter will make her bed every morning....



I have a dream that one day I won't walk into the bathroom and find this...




I have a dream that one day the bottom of my oven won't constantly look like this...



I have a dream that one day my living room furniture will be used for it's created purpose...





I have a dream that one day I will walk into my laundry room and the laundry will be caught up...



But then I remember that I am living my dream...

And living my dream includes the messes left behind as they run through the day chasing theirs...


Lord, thank you for allowing me to be a part of that.


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Floating hearts



I love teaching my kids different ways to see the good in others and to show they care. So with Valentines Day fast approaching we are showing the love to each other with our 'floating heart'. We simply cut a big read heart out of construction paper and this heart is floating around our house this week. Yesterday, Aleigha received the heart from Kaden with a package of skittles and a note written on the heart that thanked her for reading him his favorite book the other day. Today, Aleigha left the heart on Mya's bed with a tootsie roll and on the heart she wrote "I love you Mya because you share with me." Tomorrow it will be Mya's turn to write a special note to someone in our family and 'plant' it somewhere where they will find it.


It's cool to see the heart fill up special messages to others in our family and it's fun to see how they are sharing their love for each other. I challenged them to get creative and either leave each other something like a small treat- or they could do something nice for that person like make their bed or draw them a picture. Nothing expensive- just a nice thought and a sweet way to let someone know that they are loved and appreciated.


As a mommy I think it's so important to teach our kids show kindness and to learn to 'look for' goodness in others- and then thank them. One of the greatest gifts I can give my children is not a stuffed bear this valentines day but the life long skill that will carry on into their marriage and relationship with others one day.


Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Do you see?



People see God everyday, they just don't recognize him.
~ Pearl Bailey

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Friday, February 5, 2010

4 little monkeys...

video
No monkeys were harmed in the making of this video. ;0)
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our own

I have been quite surprised about all of the comments I have received from my previous post on Excuses. I guess more than anything, it made me realize that I am not the only one who struggles in this area.

This got me to start thinking more about what is really behind the our excuses... and I am ashamed to say, for me anyway, it's basically boils down to selfishness.

I guess though, in part, that is due to our strong protective nature that goes into effect the second we leave the womb. Out we come- into the big bad world- where immediately we demand our needs are met. These feelings of having our needs met are so strong that being able to think of others needs has to be taught...

and taught...

and taught some more.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have said to my children "How do you think that would make someone else feel?"

And, I remember my mother saying the same thing to me.

So because we are so in tuned to meet 'our own' needs, I think that often times we use excuses to protect what we do have -just in case we might need it later.

And, the truth is- if we open our home and our hearts to a child- it IS going to cost us
something...

our time,
our money,
our attention,
and probably a whole lot more.

Therefore, in our minds, our excuses become legitimate.

After all, we have to be able to protect 'our own' and give 'our own' what they need and want-so much so, that unfortunately, we have a nation full of (sorry) spoiled brats that no longer know how to think of anyone or anything else- but 'our own' needs and wants.

Ouch.

But the truth is, this life is not 'our own'.

It's not about us making it through safe.

It's not about us making it to the end with the greatest amount of comfort and ease.

I think somewhere along the way we have told ourselves it is okay to come up with these excuses in effort to cling to our securities. We seem to need some guarantee that before we take that first step of reaching out to someone else that our own needs will still be met, that things will go smoothly and that things will be easy.

Can I just be honest with you?

They won't.

Things won't always be easy.

You will give until it hurts.
You will give of yourself.
You will make sacrifices.
and it will be work.
You will suffer
and you will hurt.

Sound familiar?

Like maybe what Jesus did for you and I on the cross?

I am so thankful that God chose to not only care about 'his own'. His one and only son.

I am so thankful for the sacrifices He made.

He gave.

He gave it all.

And we are to follow His example.

He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32


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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Excuse

I've had my share of excuses in the past....

Too busy
Not enough money
Not enough time
Too young
Too old
Can't afford it
Already have 4 children
Not sure if it's God's will
Not sure
Can't afford it
What will others say?
What will others think?
People will think we are crazy
What if they are right?
Can't afford it.
What if it's hard on our other kids?
It's not the right time
Not sure if I would be good at it.
House is too small.
Can't afford it.
Not sure if I want to start all over again.
What would we drive?
What if it's to much work?
What if it's too hard?
Can't afford it.

Yet for every excuse God has the answer-

Him.

It's all about Him- period.


He must increase,
but I must decrease.
John 3:30


We limit God with our excuses.
We limit God with our fears.
We limit God by putting Him inside a box-
A box we have designed on our own.

But by doing this we are actually robbing ourselves-
robbing ourselves of the blessings.
Robbing ourselves of true joy
Robbing ourselves of truly living.

Because you see when we take 'us' out of the picture
Our worries,
Our fears,
Our excuses,
And we put God in the center of our lives
The possibilities are endless.

He has the way...
He IS the way...
And all you have to do is
stop making excuses and take that first step.
Stop listening to the world.
Stop being afraid of the what ifs-
And listen to the one who knows.
The one who has the answers.
The one who really matters.
The truth is
we don't have to be perfect
because He is.
We don't have to have all of the answers
because He already does.
We don't have to know how
because He will show us.
Each day you wait
is a day that they wait too...


The cost of your excuse is a lot higher than the cost of an adoption
because look at what it's costing them.


Stop making excuses.
They are waiting
And so is He...
To show you the way.


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